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HOUSE IN THE FOREST

Single family house, landscaping, and interior design project

Location: León, Spain

Client: Private

State: Built

Year: 2016

Awards: Work selected in the XIII Brick Architecture Prize

Publications: XIII Brick Architecture Award. Ed Conarquitectura.

The project tries to make the most of the special location of this house, in the vicinity of a protected wooded area. That is why the interior and exterior spaces of the project are treated with the same intensity, which are understood as a continuity of virgin nature on the other side of the plot. For this, different types of spaces are projected: some are designed to be occupied by man, others by nature, and others by both at the same time, creating a very wide and varied gradient of spaces between the purely exterior and the strictly interior.

Taking advantage of the strong existing unevenness, the plot is topographically carved, without there being any difference between the treatment of the building and that of the landscaping, generating a new condition where the garden and the house are equally stratified on different levels. To accentuate this hybrid condition, the contour of the different levels of the house varies, allowing nature to penetrate it and invade various types of patio spaces located at different levels.

The fusion of building and nature is carried out at all levels, the choice of materials being especially relevant in this process. The reference is found again in nature. There, in the nearby forest, two materials are identified that have associated two different geometries, on the one hand the vertical lines marked by the centenary pines, and on the other the horizontal plane that forms the clay soil, so common in this area. So clay and wood are the only materials used to build the volumes of the performance.

On one side, the clay appears in a single format through a single type of tile brick, linked to the ground, and therefore marking a strong horizontality in the house that links it to the place and that accentuates the topographic character of the action. This unique type of brick is used to build facade walls, retaining walls, exterior and interior pavements, rain gutters, etc. And on the other hand, wood, which appears in the most protected areas and as vertical slatted, used in carpentry, flooring and cladding, all of them both indoors and outdoors. All this makes the house become a fundamental and natural part of the place.

And finally, the house has also been designed with maximum energy efficiency criteria to reduce heating costs, but also to allow natural cooling during the summer months. With regard to the first, passive measures have been chosen such as correct solar exposure of all the rooms of the house, a wide thickness of thermal insulation as well as a careful study of the thermal envelope to avoid all possible thermal bridges, in addition to a considerable solar contribution to the heating system. In relation to the summer months, the overhangs that surround the entire house have been designed with a length such that during the winter they allow solar radiation to penetrate inside but that during the summer they avoid it, in addition the entire system of patios favors that all rooms enjoy proper cross ventilation, ensuring a comfortable temperature during the summer months.